Early Infant Oral Care Dental Topics
Perinatal & Infant Oral Health
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women receive oral healthcare and counseling during pregnancy. Research has shown evidence that periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Talk to your doctor or dentist about ways you can prevent periodontal disease during pregnancy.
Additionally, mothers with poor oral health may be at a greater risk of passing the bacteria which causes cavities to their young children. Mother’s should follow these simple steps to decrease the risk of spreading cavity-causing bacteria:
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Brush and floss on a daily basis to reduce bacterial plaque.
- Proper diet, with the reduction of beverages and foods high in sugar & starch.
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste recommended by the ADA and rinse every night with an alocohol-free, over-the-counter mouth rinse with .05 % sodium fluoride in order to reduce plaque levels.
- Don’t share utensils, cups or food which can cause the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria to your children.
- Use of xylitol chewing gum (4 pieces per day by the mother) can decrease a child’s caries rate.
Are You Having Difficulty With Breastfeeding?
Are you having difficulty with breastfeeding? Has your pediatrician or lactation consultant said your baby has a possible tongue-tie or lip-tie? You may benefit from a frenectomy consultation with Dr. Jennifer Criss at Nacogdoches Pediatric Dentistry.
The frenum or frenulum is a band of tissue that attaches the upper lip to the gums and the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Sometimes the tissue is too thick, too short, or too long, which can prevent proper movement of the upper lip and/or tongue. This can cause difficulties with latching and breastfeeding. A frenectomy is a procedure that revises the frenum to increase the movement of the upper lip and/or tongue.
Not every baby needs both the lip and tongue revised. Often times only the tongue is tied but not the upper lip or vice versa. Dr. Criss will do a full evaluation of your baby to assess the anatomy, function, appearance, and movement of the tongue and lip and discuss treatment options, pros and cons, and determine together with you if a frenectomy would be beneficial. Although results are never guaranteed, most infants are able to feed with significant improvement immediately. Dr. Criss always recommends you and your infant return to your lactation consultant, or begin to see one, after treatment to help ensure feeding is going as well as it can, or if other therapies are needed.
Dr. Criss has experienced the challenges of feeding with her own tongue tied infant and this lead her to look into the best options of early frenum release.
Some Of The Benefits Of Using A Laser For A Frenectomy, Versus Other Methods, Include:
- Short treatment time (usually 1-2 minutes)
- Minimal/No bleeding
- No need for sutures
- No need for general anesthesia or sedation
- Rapid healing and recovery
- Minimal pain or discomfort
- Minimal chance for re-attachment
- Minimally invasive
- Feeding can be, and is encouraged to be, attempted immediately after the procedure
- The treatment is completed in our office. We follow all the safety precautions, ensuring that your baby is very safe and receives the best treatment.
Call today to schedule a consultation today with our laser tongue tie specialist, Dr. Jennifer Criss. We are always willing and able to provide the treatment the same day as the consultation, if you so decide.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit-Establishing A “Dental Home”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a “Dental Home” for your child by one year of age. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.
The Dental Home is intended to provide a place other than the Emergency Room for parents.
You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. If old enough, your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. The less to-do concerning the visit, the better.
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. Pediatric dental offices make a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
When Will My Baby Start Getting Teeth?
Teething, the process of baby (primary) teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies. Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general, the first baby teeth to appear are usually the lower front (anterior) teeth and they usually begin erupting between the age of 6-8 months.
See “Eruption of Your Child’s Teeth” for more details.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries)
One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.
Sippy cups should be used as a training tool from the bottle to a cup and should be discontinued by the first birthday. If your child uses a sippy cup throughout the day, fill the sippy cup with water only (except at mealtimes). By filling the sippy cup with liquids that contain sugar (including milk, fruit juice, sports drinks, etc.) and allowing a child to drink from it throughout the day, it soaks the child’s teeth in cavity causing bacteria.